Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Benin, Edo State branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), has declared three-day boycotts of the courts in protest against the kidnap of an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu.
The Chairman, NBA, Benin branch, Collins Ogiegbean who made the declaration in a press conference yesterday, said the action would begin today (Wednesday) and end on Friday.
He added that if the abducted judge still remained in captivity on Friday, they would have no option than to extend the action.
The NBA branch has also set up a taskforce to ensure compliance with the order in all the courts in Benin jurisdiction, saying the taskforce headed by Mr. Douglas Ogbankwa would liaise with chairmen of other branches to ensure total compliance.
Nwosu-Iheme was kidnapped October 30 along the Benin –Asaba road, while she was travelling from Benin to Imo State.
The kidnappers numbering about four who were said to have operated in a Toyota Voltron car were said to have overtaken the SUV conveying the judge and other occupants of the car.
Ogiegbean who was flanked by Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, immediate past chairman of Ikeja branch of NBA; and Mr. Habeeb Lawal, National Assistant Publicity Secretary of NBA and others, also called on the state government and security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities to ensure the protection of lives and property, which according to him, “remained the primary responsibility of government”.
“We are calling on the state government and heads of security agencies to live up to their billings; face the task squarely in protecting lives and property and to go the extra mile to see that Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu is rescued and that this should be the last time such will happen.
“It offends our senses as persons living in a society such as ours. If the orderly of a justice can be shot and the justice taken away in broad daylight what happens to those of us who do not have security around us?
“It is for this reason that we have resolved as a mark of protest to boycott the courts. Accordingly, with effect from Wednesday, November 6, we shall proceed on a boycott of all courts in Edo State. No lawyer is permitted to appear in any of the courts. This is in solidarity with Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu”.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Danmallam Mohammed yesterday said that the command is working with neighbouring commands and sister security agencies to ensure her release.
“We are making some progress but we are being careful so that we don’t jeopardise her life and also protect the family. We are working with neighbouring commands and sister agencies are also working with us to make sure she regains her freedom. We are being careful in our operations and I cannot reveal everything we are doing but we are not resting”.